Freakonomics does some amazing podcasts, but this one stood out to me. I’ve always thought that Americans didn’t save enough. And I’ve always thought that the government incentivized people to spend instead of save.
Turns out, that’s true and when people find creative ways to incentive saving the government wants to shut them down.
That the idea of no loss lotteries as an example. The basic concept is that banks will offer savings accounts with an interest rate slightly lower than the going rate. The bank then take that extra money and use it to fund a monthly or yearly lottery that is given to a random account holder.
Sounds great to me. It satisfies people’s urge to gamble (two-thirds of Americans say they have gambled in the last year) while also helping them save money.
Of course, governments don’t like this. It interferes with the state’s monopoly on the lottery.
“Almost done with the Isaacson bio of Steve Jobs. A great book. Right now he’s talking about the launch of the iPad and you realize that Jobs is going to die soon. There’s no drama. We know how it ends. And it chokes me up. Not because I’m sad that Steve Jobs is no longer here to create great products. That’s a little sad. But there’s nothing tragic about that. Other people will create great products and great products are not really the essence of life. But his creativity and willingness to dream! We know that it must come to an end for all of us, but his comet shot across the sky so brightly and with such passion. The end of that is what is so poignant.”—Russ Roberts